Proxies for High Level Vintage

So finally building a paper vintage deck that I hope to bring to bigger tournaments. Until I am able to get power I need to use proxies. Does using Jack in the Mox and using acetone to get rid of the text that doesn't apply work? Wasn't sure since they are silver boardered. Thanks!

@mtgGreg I've been using Acetone on basic lands (of the appropriate color) for the Moxen, as well as Ornithopter turned into the Lotus, Hydroblast for the Ancestral, and Remove Soul for the Time Walk. Those have worked fine. I've never run into any problems and have had a blast at every tourney I've been to.

If you're looking to spend a bit of money there are also very nice alters available for the power. I've seen some of these in the real and those that I've come across have been gorgeous.

Your opponents (and yourself!) will probably not appreciate identical art for different cards, regardless of what text is on there -- it's nice to be able to read the boardstate at a glance.

For moxen, people often acetone/eraser text off a basic land of the appropriate type. I've done this with the various diamonds (Charcoal Diamond, Fire Diamond, etc) because they look moxen-y.

For Ancestral I'm a fan of Shared Discovery.

I like Fatigue for Time Walk, as it captures the expression your opponent usually makes when you Snapcaster or JVP it back.

last edited by nucleosynth

@nucleosynth Thanks. This is the kind of feedback I was hoping to get. The last thing I want to do is confuse people.

@Topical_Island I'll have to look into this. I don't mind spending some money. Are they usually the same thickness or does it mark the cards?

@mtgGreg They are just like any altered art card. (The one's done by hand.) I've never seen any problem with alters myself. I've heard tell of some, but those seemed kinda like duh situations where somebody decided to alter with globs of oil paint or something in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.

Here's a link to Time Walk proxies hand done by actual Amy Weber, which I just think is awesome.

Blank World Championship cards and a skilled artistic hand have always been my favorites. Not sure if anyone has had luck printing on one of them, but that would be cool too as long as it doesnt mess with thickness.

@mtgGreg Mana cost, card name, types, and oracle text should all go on a proxy, IMO.

Have to make the obligatory proxies post 😄

Don't forget - proxies are not regulated by WotC so there are not (and can never be) an official set of rules about what is and isn't allowed at tournaments. Proxy rules are 100% up to the discretion of the Head Judge and the Tournament Organizer. Just because your cards are fine in one tournament doesn't mean they'll be fine in another. The only way to be sure is to ask the head judge / TO.

most TO's care about:

  • is the card indistinguishable from other cards in a sleeve? (e.g. can you cut to it or tell when it's on top of your deck)

  • can your opponent very clearly tell what the card is supposed to be?

some TO's also ask that the full rules text is on the card (including types and costs), though some don't care, and some make exceptions for cards with tons of text (I've proxied a lot of Jace, the Mind Sculptor ... it's not fun)

So unfortunately there isn't a clear answer to your question. Some tournaments wouldn't care about proxies without a casting cost, some would.

The SAFEST proxy is a basic land, with felt tip marker crossing out the name, and writing the full name, casting cost, type line, power/toughness, and rules text of the proxied card. I've never known any tournament to not allow a proxy like this.

The second safest is using an existing card, either a basic, or a card with the same casting cost / type / power/toughness (e.g. Darksteel Relic of Fountain of Youth for moxes) and using acetone or any number of other methods to erase the text and name of the card, and possibly the art, replacing them with the rules text for the proxy, and optionally pretty artwork. Basically every tournament allows these, but there's some risk if you go overboard with the erasing that the thickness of the card is compromised, which some judges can have an issue with.

A lot of tournaments will allow more complex proxies. There are a few techniques to make a foil proxy yourself, and some of the proxies you can buy on online are totally fine.

Personally I think the lack of a casting cost on those ebay cards are a non-issue, people know the CC on power nine cards, and it's very clear to your opponent what those cards are ... but some judges might disagree. I've definitely seen people use those Gaming Etc. proxies at vintage events before.

If you do decide to use a fancy proxy, I would HIGHLY recommend also making a low-tech version of the proxy (i.e. sharpie+basic), and bringing it with you to the event. If you have any concerns, ask a judge before the event starts if your proxies are fine, and if they aren't, you'll have your backups ready.

Just remember - what we care about is that your opponent can't mistake the card for something else, and there's nothing strange about the texture or thickness of the card that would let someone cheat. If you have those things covered, most judges/TO's/players won't care.

I second @Brass-Man 's thickness comment. The most common offender of this particular type are the window transparency "foil" proxies that many people use in casual play. They are a lot of fun and look great, but the transparency film adds a subtle-but-noticeable thickness that next to real cards would easily be considered Marked.

Marker and a land. The best way to be.

I just bought a bunch of the World Championship deck blanks and very poorly drew some art in them. They seem to be great for proxies as long as you're using fully opaque sleeves.

for personal playtesting, I use (and highly recommend) simple paper printouts, on regular printer paper, cut out and put in a sleeve over a cheap card. They look nicer, and totally eliminate the cognitive load of "what does this card do again?" when playing a bunch of games. Unfortunately this changes the thickness of the cards in a way that most TOs are uncomfortable with (less than a regular, legal foil imo, but c'est la vie).

For playtesting and games with friends though, it can't be beat. Cheaper and looks better than internet proxies, easier, faster to make, and WAY more readable than sharpie proxies, and doesn't ruin a card forever. Just don't cheat in playtesting.

@revengeanceful World Championship cards are AMAZING for proxies, especially if you have a friend (or are a friend) with some good markers and an artistic streak. They're genuine magic cards so there's no thickness/cheating issues (as long as your sleeves are very opaque because they have different backs). I didn't bring it up earlier because I've heard they can be pretty pricey these days .... probably from decades of people buying them to use as proxies!

@Brass-Man I picked a bunch of them up from one of the big online retailers for 80 cents each. Not nothing, but certainly far from outrageous especially if you only need 15-30.

@revengeanceful I thought they were much more than that ... I'll have to pick a couple up!

What I have been doing for full proxy events is printing out proxies at Fedex on their very nice color printers (total cost is about $8 for a deck). They come out looking better than just about any other printed proxies I've seen.

If I just need a few proxies then blank world champ cards are best. I commissioned a friend to do art for the power 9 since I'll use those all the time.

I acetone everything but the silver border on an UN card, and then run it through my laser printer using a high rez scan of the card. You can find them online. They are normally used for ccg emulation software. I have also used templates to make physical cards that look like the Vintage Masters cards. The art for most of this stuff can be found all over the place. Final product looks great.

How do you run a Magic card through a laser printer? Honestly curious about this, I'd love to try it some time but have no idea how that would work.

last edited by revengeanceful
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